BERKELEY – Reshanda Gray scored No. 23/22 California’s first seven points of the game and finished with 20 points and eight rebounds as the Golden Bears knocked off Lafayette, 77-60, in the non-conference finale at Haas Pavilion.
The Bears (8-3) used a new starting lineup Sunday, and the team responded with one of the most balanced scoring outputs of the season as six players scored at least eight points against the Leopards (6-5). Brittany Boyd added 13 points along with seven assists and four steals, and freshman Courtney Range came off the bench to match her career-high with 11 points and seven boards.
The win is a welcome finish to the 2013 calendar that has been rewarding for the Golden Bears. An early January victory at Stanford, the first Pac-12 championship in school history and an appearance in the NCAA Final Four highlighted the first half of the year, while Cal’s victory over Lafayette to close out 2013 puts Cal in good shape as the team gets ready to begin conference play this weekend.
"This was a fun game to close out 2013 in Haas Pavilion," California head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. "It’s been such a great year in so many different ways and neat to have a total team effort in our last one here."
Improving to 5-1 at Haas Pavilion this season seemed to be a tougher task than anticipated at the start of the game. Gray and Boyd combined for Cal’s first 17 points until Kyra Dunn scored on a putback layup to close the score to 20-19 with 8:21 to go in the first half. Dunn, playing in her second game as a Golden Bear, scored six points to go along with five rebounds and two blocked shots in the game.
The Leopards led 27-24 in the closing minutes of the half until Brittany Boyd notched her 215th career steal and brought it back the other way for a layup with two minutes remaining. Range added another and Mikayla Lyles hit a jumper in the closing seconds to end the half on a short 6-0 run and give the Bears a 30-27 lead at the break.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Afure Jemerigbe and Hind Ben Abdelkader pushed Cal’s lead to 38-30 just 90 seconds into the second half. The lead increased to 11 points with a Boyd layup (43-32) and swelled to as many as 22 points when Range scored on a jumper to make the score 70-48 with 4:01 to go in the game.
California opens Pac-12 play this weekend when Oregon State visits Haas Pavilion Friday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.